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“In the 1990s I observed how economic institutions imported from the West failed to take root in Russia, and caused a great deal of disruption and  distress.  The reason, it seemed to me, was that those institutions were based on forms of trust that had become so ingrained in the West, no one even noticed them any more.  

But in Russia/the Soviet Union forms of trust were quite different, and could not simply absorb Western institutions without serious damage.

I went on to reflect on how both Western and Russian trust structures had taken shape over very long periods of time.  I came to the conclusion that the two most important foundations for trust in the modern world are religion and money - two very different forces, often in tension with one another.

Over the course of this talk, I will introduce the audience to the lessons to be learnt - both for Russia, and the West.”

Geoffrey Hosking is Emeritus Professor of Russian History, School of Slavonic & East European Studies, University College London.  He is author of Beyond Socialist Realism:  Soviet fiction since Ivan Denisovich (1980), A History of the Soviet Union (3rd edition, 1992), and Rulers and Victims: the Russians in the Soviet Union (2007).  He edited a series of papers on 'Trust and Distrust in the Soviet Union' in the Slavonic & East European Review, vol 91, no 1 (January 2013).  Oxford University Press has just published his book Trust:  a history.


This is a Pushkin Club event and all are welcome.